Abu Dis, Nuaman, Sheikh Saed, Mon 7.9.09, Afternoon
We set out early in an attempt to catch children coming back from school and investigating how they cross the checkpoints.
Driving down through Jebel Mukaber we noted that the garbage strike had ended only as far as Nof Zion which is now being populated. Almost half way down the slope two large schools just ended classes and the street was filled with youngsters. A lot of transits awaited them. Some walked up or down on foot.
In Sheikh Saed we saw one lone girl returning from school. We asked the soldiers who said the children had not come back yet. The transit dropping off two other children stopped far beyond the CP.
The soldiers were not aware whether the children study in two shifts. Two young girls on their way out of Sheikh Saed told us that their school is in Sheikh Saed, but that they live in Jebel Mukaber.
Before sending us off away from the CP, where we were ‘disturbing’ the commander in his work, he told us that stopping near the CP would be a security hazard, even more so if cars stopped near the other side of the CP on the top of the road. He said that they never check children, only those who look older than 16 and try to sneak out without valid papers. He said that he even allows the bus sometimes to stop near the CP to let the children out and that during the first days of school he had allowed mothers of young children to accompany them to school, provided they left their Id’s at the CP for a short while.
We drove through Tzur Bacher to reach the bottom of Har Homa where the construction continues at full speed.
At the CP under Nuaman we asked for permission to continue, since the traffic light was on ‘red’. One of the soldiers advised us against going there for our safety. We insisted that it would be our own responsibility, so the commander of the CP, Sh., called somewhere and was told by his ‘officer’ not to let us through. He was unwilling to listen to any arguments.
By that time it was too late to find any children at another CP so we stopped early with the intention to ‘do’ some further investigation at the Olive Terminal and in Anata during another shift.